Musician R. Kelly has a decades-long history of allegations of child pornography, pedophilia, and abusive behavior toward black women and girls. He also has a long history of using his power, money, and fame to avoid being held appropriately accountable for his actions.

Following the release of Lifetime’s documentary on the subject, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx vowed to take the issue seriously and has charged Kelly with ten counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. His fame continues to work to his advantage, however, as fans and supporters have now paid over $200,000 to keep Kelly out of jail.

As many have already stated, it is almost unfathomable to imagine someone getting away with abusing white women and girls for decades on end, celebrity or not. We, as a society, must reckon with the fact that we continue to treat the abuse of black women and girls as less important than the abuse of white women and girls. We cannot allow ourselves to sit idly and allow this to happen; rather, we must change the status quo.

Chicago NOW unequivocally denounces the sexual abuse of any individual, regardless of color, gender, class, or status of the abuser. Chicago NOW fully supports the continued efforts to hold R. Kelly accountable for his actions.